Alas, Marvel

Oh Marvel, why did you have to screw up my digital comics addiction?

I love comics.  Oh, I love books, and movies, and TV shows as well.  But comics are different.

The books I like run the gamut from entertaining and funny to self-improving and thought-provoking.  My favorite movies and TV shows are tear-jerking, soul-rending, heart-stopping and sometimes outright terrifying.  But comics?  Comics combine all those emotions with laughter and comfort.  Comics take me back to simpler times, when I could count on my heroes to to solve every problem while quipping one-liners.

I race to comics when I’ve had a particularly nasty day, because where else can I get a quick emotional boost and a thorough distraction in less than 40 pages?  And above all comics, I worship Marvel.  Truly.  But this latest redesign of their website — forget it.  I’ve seen new Microsoft products with fewer bugs and less customer irritation.

Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited was a wonderful feature that fit perfectly into my ‘digitize’ mantra.  Thousands of back issues, neatly formatted for a convenient reader.  I could track what I’d read, mark comics to read in the future, toggle easily from one comic into the next in the series.  If I was eager to read more about Hawkeye I would just search the character.  And if I wanted to revisit the Secret Invasion, I could just search for the series.

I have a subscription to MDCU.  Had.  Have — at least until I call the bank tomorrow and ask about reversing the charge.  You see, Marvel ‘improved’ MDCU, transforming it into the new “Marvel Unlimited.”

Improved it as in removed the features that made it enjoyable and transformed it into something so impossible to use that I’m essentially paying for something with little resemblance to what I thought I was buying.

Rather like paying for a new pair of Manolos and getting the left shoe from a used pair of low-budget sneakers.

I can’t even begin to list the problems I’ve found in trying to use it — that is, when the website isn’t jamming and freezing to the extent I nearly have to physically shut down my computer to get out of it!  No way to record what I’ve read or what I want to read.  No easy way to toggle into the next comic in the series.  The few comics I tried to pull up took so long to load that I gave up and backed out.  When something did load, the new reader did such a poor job of aligning it that I couldn’t read half the print and again backed out.

Useless.  And my resolution for 2013 is to eliminate useless things.

I won’t stop reading comics — but it looks like I’ll be sticking to the print ones now.  And since I’ll be print-only, well, I’ll probably buy fewer Marvel and expand out into other comics.  Been awhile since I read Batman, there’s the new Arrow — time to check out DC and the indies, I think.

Great sigh of sorrow, here.  I really, really wanted their redesign to work.  I loved MDCU.  It was my go-to place.  I had big plans for reading my way through whole series I’d missed.

Guess Netflix will be getting a workout, now.


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